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XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

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XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby NSpan » October 18th, 2012, 8:13 pm

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I've been playing this every free moment I've had since its release. For fans of the classic, it's just about everything you could hope for. A few changes have been made to make it feel more modern and the interface has been streamlined--but neither of these "dumb down" the game. At first glance, it DOES look like the game got the Civilization: Revolution treatment... but that isn't the case. The changes are thought-out and there is plenty of depth and complexity throughout. Reducing the maximum deployment team size and forcing you to operate out of a single H.Q. (while outposts are only used to house interceptors and utilize increased satellite coverage) are both great changes that actually force the user to focus more on precision strategy. Resource conservation is critical, and you can't simply throw everything you've got at every single UFO that shows up on the radar. On a similar note, they've also incorporated other subtle penalties for playing recklessly. A good example is explosives. You get access to rocket launchers almost immediately, and they prove to be useful throughout the game. But every time you decide to disintegrate a group of aliens hiding out in their downed UFO, you'll be destroying the precious equipment, alloys, and extraterrestrial elements that you'd otherwise have an opportunity to research and use to your advantage further down the line. Eventually, you realize that explosives are meant to be use as a tactical tool rather than a weapon of semi-mass destruction. Rockets and grenades are best for creating paths, exposing groups of enemies, and increasing your field of vision by destroying obstructions.

I'm happy to elaborate more, but I highly recommend to anyone who is already considering this purchase to simply go out and buy it ASAP. I was going to get it for PS3, but Steam was selling the PC edition for cheaper and they threw in Civilization V for free. I'm extremely happy with that decision. Supposedly the console ports are nearly identical, but the keyboard + mouse setup seems pretty ideal for the controls... and any mods or DLC will probably be most widely available for the PC version. In fact, now that I'm working with semi-decent laptops, I think I'll be doing most of my gaming on PCs for a while. The modding communities are intense--and they offer more for each title than official DLC could ever dream of.

The game isn't perfect, but I'd be hard pressed to identify many specific "flaws." I simply want more of everything. The game isn't "small" by any standard, but I'd love to see more maps, more weapons/armor/items, new research trees, new soldier classes, more alien species, etc. But those aren't complaints per se. Just a request for more of a good thing.

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Also... as I've mentioned, Torchlight II is what we all wanted from Diablo III. If you're a fan of the genre, grab yourself a copy now. The developer stuck to their word regarding keeping the $20 price point. So it's a steal. You can even go in with some friends and get a 4-pack for $60 (making it $15 per copy).
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby numbersix » October 19th, 2012, 2:59 am

I bought XCOM for the PS3. I've only played a few missions (classic mode, of course) and it is damn hard. But once you realise how essential cover really is (as well as overview - I think that's what it's call) you start to get the hang of the strategy. My latest mission has introduced these flying enemies who are an abosulte pain.

I think the new movement system is a great improvement, and now you team can take a hit without being so badly wounded it's almost pointless to continue. AI is great too - those bastards can flank you in seconds if you're not ready.

I'm not a fan of "timed" missions. I always liekd turn-based games because of the lack of time pressure, making it all about strategy. But having to disarm bombs and buy time by disabling power cells seems a bit irritating to me. Hopefully there won't be too many of these missions.

Good point re explosives. I'm partial to a good grenade at the moment, so might have to ease back.

I am disappointed that you can only have 6 members per mission, but I see your point about strategy and precision. I also hear there are no base invasion missions, which is a relief and a disappointment.
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby numbersix » November 2nd, 2012, 12:51 pm

Following up on my progress with the game, it's fast becoming one of my favourites.

It's difficulty curve is amazing. Just as you're about to get the hang of your team and weaponry, the enemy manages to get one up by introducing new and more dangerous adversaries. I've now come face to face with large mechanised monstrosities and ethereal beings with series mind abilities, and barely survived to tell the tale. I also like how your reseach progresses the plot, without bogging you down in boring exposition.

It's truly a great game. Having a smaller team makes the game even more challenging. The special abilities really add to the game. Resource management is essential.

I'm not crazy about team members on overwatch hitting advancing enemies by shooting them through walls, especially when the walls remain intact. It's a bit silly. But other than that it's a time-sucking and rewarding game.

NSpan, have you tried multiplayer yet?
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby W » November 2nd, 2012, 2:34 pm

I haven't touched this yet, but will eventually.
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby NSpan » November 2nd, 2012, 3:13 pm

numbersix wrote:I'm not crazy about team members on overwatch hitting advancing enemies by shooting them through walls, especially when the walls remain intact. It's a bit silly. But other than that it's a time-sucking and rewarding game.
The developer has been made very aware of the wall glitch, I imagine that'll be the first thing they patch. That's the only genuine glitch I've encountered--and it's only been a truly ridiculous scenario once or twice.

numbersix wrote:NSpan, have you tried multiplayer yet?

Not yet, I still want to finish the main storyline solo (and I've been busy with work, so time has been tight). But once I'm at that point, perhaps you'd fancy a game?
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby numbersix » November 2nd, 2012, 3:28 pm

Yes, absolutley. I'm playing the Ps3 version and have zero idea on how to set up a multiplayer game. But when both of us have finished the main game let's go for it.
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby numbersix » November 14th, 2012, 3:07 pm

Well, I finished XCOM after some furious playing over the weekend. Now what do I do with my life?

OVerall, the game was very strong, but perhaps I got over-excited about it. Perhaps that's because about two-thirds in the game seemed brilliantly challenging. New and tougher enemies were constantly being introduced, but what actually happened was that it dumped a load of new enemies on one particular mission and then that was it. And so the final third of the game basically involves you building your team into an elite force for the final mission. So it's a reverse curve: impossibly difficult at first, easier at the end.

The last mission was a bit disappointing. It's intentionally compartmentalised so alien forces flanking you isn't much of a possibility. So it's much easier to control, especially with a new ability available. Raiding an alien battleship (a random mission that's very tough and provides you with some new and devastating technology) was much more challenging, as was an important mid-point mission which introduced two new enemies.

I finished the game on "classic" mode. Admittedly, I often loaded an old save if things went wrong. So perhaps I should consider testing my mettle by playing Impossible mode or else chosing Ironman (no saving mid-battle) on an easier level.

Ultimately, I'm very happy with the revival of this game. It's different but still thrilling. I would have preferred more complexity, especially towards the end, but I could see myself returning to it one day, which is very rare. I'm hoping the great reviews will result in great sales and a sequel will be planned (and not the proposed 1st person shooter that's due out) at some stage.
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby NSpan » November 14th, 2012, 3:21 pm

In addition to wrapping up X-COM, I still have Civilization V, Psychonauts, Faster Than Light, Cthulhu Saves the World, and Toki Tori (this last one is actually a replay, this time with Kate).

Steam has had some great deals recently. And, as I mentioned before, I'm sticking to the PC for any cross-platform games in the future. At least until the PS4 is released.
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Re: XCOM Enemy Unknown / Torchlight 2

Postby numbersix » November 14th, 2012, 3:52 pm

Surprisingly, the controller worked quite well for XCOM. Immediate reactions aren't required, and you never really clicked in the wrong space to move to. Apart from some loading times and glitches, the port worked well.

But yeah, if it wasn't for my laptop's weak hardware I would always stick to the PC version.
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